‘A triple whammy’ from rising food costs
An anonymous donor is offering to match contributions of up to $50,000 to Shelbourne Community Kitchen, which grows and distributes food to those in need.
The Double Your Impact Campaign was launched Oct. 4 and continues until the end of November. The same donor gave separate donations of $20,000 and $25,000 last year that were matched.
The neighbourhood food centre, which manages gardens that supply fresh produce, grew over 3,600 kilograms of produce in 2021 and distributed more than 17,000 kilograms of food.
It also offers cooking programs and hosts garden workshops — all with just two staff members and more than 200 volunteers.
Director Kim Cummins said the program is currently registering at least 10 new people a week, including families, newcomers, seniors, students and low-income earners “who just aren’t able to make ends meet right now due to the crushing effects of inflation and the ongoing housing crisis.”
More than 950 people are involved in programs, while another 340 children are supported by the group’s services.
After the growing season, cash donations help cover basic operational costs and the purchase of perishable food items such as milk and eggs, as well as funding a voucher program to provide people with monthly grocery cards.
“The impact of rising food costs has caused a triple whammy,” said board chairwoman Clarice Dillman. “Our members are facing even greater food insecurity, more members are struggling and reaching out for support and the kitchen itself is facing increased costs on all fronts.
“It’s so wonderful that this incredible donor has once again stepped up with a matching donation to help support our work.”
Donations can be made at shelbournecommunitykitchen.ca.
Victoria Foundation offers grants to support women, girls and gender-diverse people
The Victoria Foundation has $320,000 available for local groups that support women, girls and two-spirit and gender-diverse people dedicated to equity, inclusion and justice.
The money comes through the Fund for Gender Equality, a five-year national partnership involving a number of community foundations with support from the federal government.
The grants can be used for everything from new initiatives to addressing community needs or supporting a rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. Specific areas of focus can include food security, racial injustice and domestic violence.
Andrea Dicks, president of Community Foundations of Canada, said that belonging creates a sense of community and improving gender equity will help communities feel safe and supported.
“Investing in women, girls, two-spirit people and gender-diverse people is not just the right thing to do, it is the strategic choice.”
She praised the financial support for the effort from the federal government and the leadership of the Victoria Foundation and others.
“Women, girls and gender-diverse people deserve to be free of barriers that prevent them from participating in social, economic and political life,” said Marci Ien, federal minister of women and gender equality and youth.
Applications from interested organizations are being accepted through Oct. 31 at victoriafoundation.bc.ca/grants-funding/fund-for-gender-equality/. They will be reviewed in November, with funding due to be issued in January.
The Victoria Foundation was established in 1936 and is the sixth largest of close to 200 such foundations nationwide.
Artists complete Saanich mural project at Layritz Park
The last installment in Saanich’s Community Canvas Mural Project has been completed at Layritz Park by artists Jesse Campbell and Chazz Elliott from the Tsawout First Nation.
The first one was done by Claire Crawford at the entrance to the Cedar Hill Recreation and Arts Centre, and the second by W̱SÁNEĆ artist Sarah Jim at Beckwith Park.
The project was created to bring art to Saanich neighbourhoods and public spaces, with the next phase to focus on community-led murals.
“I lived in Saanich for many years and always thought there was an opportunity for more public art,” Campbell said. “That’s why when I saw the call for artists as part of this program I jumped at the chance.”
He is also involved in mentoring youth on the painting of murals and understanding other forms of Indigenous art.
“Becoming an artist was a career path that picked me in a way,” Campbell said. “I’ve tried many professions, but mural painting and art was always a passion of mine and I’m very happy to be able to do this full time.”
Hospital auxiliary starts Poinsettias for Patients drive
Christmas is still over two months away, but the Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary is already starting on its annual Poinsettias for Patients campaign.
Money raised from the sale of locally grown poinsettias will go toward a $10,000 device called a BiliChek, which tests newborns for jaundice, a common condition in newborns that can sometimes require medical treatment.
Last year saw many people give poinsettias to thank front-line staff and security workers in emergency departments, while this year’s emphasis will be on intensive-care units.
The auxiliary also suggests using poinsettias as prizes, corporate gifts or as part of decorative themes at events.
Ordering information is at vgha.ca.